An Ally of Foxes
When I was 18, I began my lifelong study of herbs. I started with goldenseal. My
interest in this bitter herb led me on a magical journey that continues to this day...
I was living in Cincinnati, in the Ohio River Valley. In my beginning herbal apprenticeship,
someone told me about a place I could buy goldenseal and ginseng gathered locally from
the Kentucky hills.
I arrived that morning by bus in the heart of downtown, at Fountain Square, a beautiful
European style plaza with a huge fountain that had in the center a goddess figure
with outstretched arms. It was a gift at the turn of the previous century from the French
who know a thing or two about goddesses.
The address I was seeking was directly off the square. I got my bearings, and came to
a closed roll-up door--tucked in between large old highrise office buildings. Some kind
of warehouse. I knocked at the door. The roll-up was raised. And my breath was taken away,
not by goldenseal. There on the concrete floor of the warehouse, were piled 4 feet high,
in neat stacks, HUNDREDS of fox pelts.
Something happened to me in that moment of shock and recognition that only recently
have I begun to understand. I became an ally of
foxes. I left with my goldenseal, and
in the company of fox spirits. They befriended me that day.